Monday 28 February 2011

Moo Moo Woo Woo

Here's a link to the Yeo Valley blog where they tell us all about additional treatments for their cows.

It appears that Steve, the herd manager, has been treating the cows with homeopathic treatments to ward off flies and ease stress. The blog even claims that:
"the use of homeopathic treatments not only helps to develop a more robust immune system, it also means no withdrawal periods for milk and meat while the animal is being treated, as would be the case when antibiotics are used."

Anyway, I thought up three possible reasons why Steve likes to use homeopathy:

  1. As stated in the blog, giving the cattle antibiotics to clear up infections means they would not be able to use the milk and meat from the cow whilst it is undergoing treatment. Whereas pretending to treat the cattle with magic water that has no active ingredients (or proven medicinal effect), means that Yeo Valley can maximise their profits.
  2. Yeo Valley's market research department have determined that their key market respond well to terms like "organic" and "natural" and probably think that homeopathy is a nice natural form of herbal remedy and are too stupid to realise they are simply giving their cattle inefficacious pretend "remedies" that contain bugger all.
  3. Steve, really is credulous enough to believe that giving magic beans to poorly cows will make them all better.

Perhaps you can think of some more, or you could try an leave a comment on their blog, but I suspect they just publish the nice comments from the deluded people who support their pseudoscientific nonsense.

or you could say hello nicely on Twitter: @yeovalley


Since posting this a number of people have contacted me to say they have left comments on the Yeo Valley blog, although I see none of them, including my perfectly friendly question, have passed moderation and been published. It seems Yeo Valley are only really interested in your comments if you happen to agree with their irrational alternative medicine policy.

I also received a copy of an email trail between a FB friend and Yeo Valley, which conisisted of a polite enquiry about their homeopathic policy, followed by a standard fob-off answer that did not address the question. My friend then followed the response up with a second email pressing them for information as to why they thought homeopathy worked, however it looks like the "Too hard" light must have come on in the marketing department, so they chose to simply ignore the follow up letter.

Oh, well, I suppose I'll have to boycott Yeo Valley, which is a real pisser because their mango and vanilla yoghurt is actually really nice. Bloody principles.

See Also: Another attempt to make the Soil Association see sense.

Wednesday 23 February 2011


David Mabus must be very tired today after an awfully busy day on twitter. Here's a transcript...

Mr Jago: Morning

Mabus: Morning Mr Jago

Mr Jago: What have you got, then?

Mabus: Well, there's Nostradamus and Goats on Fire; Nostradamus boobquake and Goats on Fire; Nostradamus and CORNFIELDS; Nostradamus, Goats on Fire and CORNFIELDS; Nostradamus, Goats on Fire, boobquake and CORNFIELDS; CORNFIELDS, Goats on Fire, boobquake and CORNFIELDS; CORNFIELDS, Nostradamus, CORNFIELDS, CORNFIELDS, Goats on Fire and CORNFIELDS; CORNFIELDS, CORNFIELDS, CORNFIELDS, Nostradamus and CORNFIELDS; CORNFIELDS, CORNFIELDS, CORNFIELDS, CORNFIELDS, CORNFIELDS, CORNFIELDS, crystal night, CORNFIELDS, CORNFIELDS, CORNFIELDS and CORNFIELDS; or Depeche Mode with a fried Nostradamus on top and CORNFIELDS.

Mrs Jago: Have you got anything without CORNFIELDS in it?

Mabus: Well, there's CORNFIELDS Nostradamus boobquake and CORNFIELDS, that's not got much CORNFIELDS in it.

Mrs Jago: I don't want ANY CORNFIELDS!

Mr Jago: Why can't she have Nostradamus, Goats on Fire, CORNFIELDS and boobquake?

Mrs Jago: That's got CORNFIELDS in it!

Mr Jago: Not as much as CORNFIELDS, Nostradamus, boobquake and CORNFIELDS.

Mrs Jago: Look, could I have Nostradamus, Goats on Fire, CORNFIELDS and boobquake without the CORNFIELDS.

Mabus: Uuuuuuggggh!

Mrs Jago: What d'you mean uuugggh! I don't like CORNFIELDS


Mabus: Shut up. Shut up! Shut up! You can't have Nostradamus, Goats on Fire, CORNFIELDS and boobquake without the CORNFIELDS.

Mrs Jago: Why not!

Mabus: No, it wouldn't be Nostradamus, Goats on Fire, CORNFIELDS and boobquake, would it.

Mrs Jago: I don't like CORNFIELDS!

Mr Jago: Don't make a fuss, dear. I'll have your CORNFIELDS. I love them. I'm having CORNFIELDS, CORNFIELDS, CORNFIELDS, CORNFIELDS, CORNFIELDS ...


Mr Jago: ... crystal night, CORNFIELDS, CORNFIELDS and CORNFIELDS.

Mabus: crystal night is off.

Mr Jago: Well can I have CORNFIELDS instead?



Mr Jago: Yes.

Mabus: Arrggh!

Trolls: .. . lovely CORNFIELDS, wonderful, CORNFIELDS.

Mabus: Shut up! Shut up!

Created entirely with search and replace.

Here's a quick reference manual for anyone interested in learning the fine art of trolling from the man himself

Reason Week

The Atheists Society at the University of Southampton are celebrating “Reason Week” this week with a series of events, talks and lectures culminating in a live recording of the Pod Delusion on Saturday evening. Personally however I'm rather hoping that Dr. Simon Singh will suitably warm the audience up on Friday lunchtime ready for my talk at 7pm.

It would be great to see you there.

Thursday 17 February 2011

Rupert and the God Delusion

Special thanks to

Neil Davies

for the fantastic illustrations

Other titles by the author:

Homeopathy Venn Diagram Demographic Analysis

Following on from yesterday's leaked email from a panicked homeopathy administrator, I have now got hold of a leaked document from Boots marketing department who have cunningly used a Venn diagram to analyse the demographic of their potential homeopathy customers.

OK, OK, I try and make a quick gag, and I get inundated by pedants complaining about the accuracy of the diagram. I should have known better. The following diagram is hopefully more accurate, although originally rejected as I was only really interested in the comic effect, and after all that's all Venn diagram's are really used for isn't it?

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Don't Homeopanic

I was delighted to be one of a number of bloggers to receive a rather amusing email in my inbox this morning, reportedly leaked from a panicked administrator at the South Downs School of Homeopathy.

The MRHA (Medicines and Healthcare product Regulatory Agency) are currently undertaking a review of the UK medicines legislation. The practical upshot of which is that there is a possibility that they might change the highly misleading label required for homeopathic products to a slightly less misleading label. Please read Zeno’s excellent blog here for more details.

As a result of this review, here’s the homeopathic sympathiser’s panic stricken call to arms :


This is urgent. TOP PRIORITY!!! The deadline is the 18th of February. The practice of homeopathy by lay homeopaths is at stake, and if the MHRA changes the wording to the document mentioned below, we will ...not be allowed to practice any longer. This will take effect immediately. The new wording which is being suggested by sense against science, and is being considered by the MHRA will effectively put us in catch 22 so that we can no longer give out remedies - basically, it is about the difference between dispensing and prescribing. all homeopaths dispense remedies as a normal part of daily practice. the new rules will mean that it will be illegal to dispense without a license, and only a qualified doctor can make a prescription. without the ability to dispense, all we can do is sit and listen to people's problems, but can do nothing else about it. this will also have an affect on the homeopathic pharmacies, who will only be allowed to dispense licensed remedies (currently, only arnica and possibly one or two others are licensed) unless prescribed by a physician, and this means the potential loss of thousands of remedies. The key words in the version we want, which help keep homeopathy going are "...use within the homeopathic tradition". This avoids the need to prove the science behind prescribing of remedies and allows us to practise as normal.

Could you please send this template to EVERYONE and inundate Ms Farmer with requests to keep the wording as shown below, so that homeopaths can continue to practise homeopathy legally.

Please contact everyone on your database, if you are a homeopath, please send it in yourself and contact all your patients to do the same. we can counteract sense about science with numbers. we just proved we have greater numbers than they do, and that when we mobilise, we can beat them at their own game. last week, they started a poll against homeopathy in an irish newspaper ( see link -
and inundated it with votes against. it was 435 against 67 for. we started a campaign on facebook, and within 24 hours, we shifted the balance of power to what you see here in the link - 67% for 27% against. they gave up and went away with their tails between their legs, and we showed them that people don't want what they have to offer.

Please help us to do this again. many people don't realise this new risk we are facing. it only takes a minute to copy and paste the below template and email it. Apologies in advance if you have acted on this already.

Thank you to everyone in advance - i know if we all work together, we can beat this.

email address:
Ms Andrea Farmer
MHRA, Area 5M
151 Buckingham Palace Road
Victoria, London SW1W 9SZ

Dear Ms Farmer,

I am writing to you about the MHRA consultation document entitled; Review of Medicines Act 1968: informal consultation on issues relating to the PLR regime and homeopathy. As a member of the public who chooses to use homeopathy and benefits from its application/practicing homeopath (delete as applicable), I am deeply concerned by the current orchestrated campaign against homeopathy, which is led by a self-appointed pressure group, Sense About Science, and a number of bloggers.

I consider it to be a fundamental right of any citizen living in a country which purports to be a democracy, to have ready access to the healthcare option of their choice. This includes homeopathy, which as you know is included in the original NHS charter.

I find your statement below acceptable for the new registration labels, and can see no reason to change this statement:

"A homeopathic medicinal product licensed only on the basis of safety, quality and use within the homeopathic tradition"

Yours sincerely,

I read this through twice as I thought at first some clever satirist was exaggerating the uncritical thinking of a made up sympathiser. Does the author really think that the wording of a medicine labels should be determined by a popularity contest rather than reviewing the clinical trials of a products efficacy and safety? Surely not.

Personally I think we should go with Andy Lewis’ suggested label.

Or if you prefer, here’s my last charitable suggestion:

I was going to write an alternative letter in my lunch break, but I just noticed that @Billysugger has posted an excellent suggestion in the comments section, so I've saved myslef the effort and simply pasted his text into the main body of the post. Here it is ...


Ms Andrea Farmer

MHRA, Area 5M

151 Buckingham Palace Road

Victoria, London SW1W 9SZ

Dear Ms Farmer,

I am writing to you about the MHRA consultation document entitled "Review of Medicines Act 1968: informal consultation on issues relating to the PLR regime and homeopathy".

As a member of the public who values evidence based medical practice, and recognises the dangers inherent in misleading claims for medical efficacy, I am deeply concerned by the current orchestrated campaign in support of unproven homeopathic treatments, and their potential to delay or avoid the application of proven medical therapies, which is led by self-interested homeopaths.

I consider it to be a fundamental duty of a democratic society to ensure that patients and clinicians are provided with clear information about potential remedies which is founded on reliable scientific evidence. This includes homeopathy, the efficacy of which, as you know, is not supported by the current scientific consensus.

I contend that the marketing of any substance which may be offered for sale or application, with an implied or explicit claim of medical efficacy, and which may be considered by patients or clinicians to be suitable as a substitute for, or an addition to, conventional therapeutic remidies, should be subject to the same Marketing Authorisation (MA) requirements as the therapeutic remedies for which they may be substituted.

Therefore I strongly urge the MHRA to move homeopathic products to full Marketing Authorisation (MA) requirements, rather than the NRS or simplified scheme.




And Alan Henness' measured submission to the MHRA can be downloaded from here

Monday 7 February 2011

Homeopathic Google Juice

I was tickled this morning by this tweet:

Which linked to this amusing screenshot

But being a critical thinking person, I thought I really ought to attempt to recreate the Google search myself to ensure that it was genuine (I am reliably informed that in this day and age it is actually possible to digitally alter images).

Fortunately I was delighted to find that not only was the Google search real, but it is also in fact possible to perform a reverse Google lookup on our favourite form of super diluted magic water.

[click image to embiggen]

Hat tip to @gb1501 for the initial fraud.

Thursday 3 February 2011

The Bitter Truth behind the Holy Trinity’s Break-Up

A statement today from Heavens press office confirmed rumours that the Holy Trinity are to split up. Many religious pundits have cited conflicts that arose from differences between each divinities artistic vision of their faith.

Although God himself is often credited as the initial creativity of the trio, his early work was considered by many to be overly harsh and much darker than their later material. God’s early handiwork certainly earned him a select following of loyal fans, but he failed to gain mainstream worldwide success until he teamed up with his son and the Holy Ghost to form Christianity.

The trio were a hit and Chistianmania swept the world by storm during the dark ages following the groups highly successful middle eastern tour.

Many fans where looking forward to the much anticipated second tour where it was hoped that Jesus would perform some of his greatest hits including the frugal distribution of mini fish butties, which was always a big crowd pleaser at live gigs. However the trio haven’t been on the road together for nearly 2,000 years preferring instead to stay in heaven and concentrate on their spiritual output which was becoming increasingly more complex and harder to recreate live in a rational environment.

It was during this period that the urban legend arose that “Jesus is dead”. Many fans claimed that clues of Jesus’ death could be seen in the group’s iconic images, within the lyrics of their hymns and even within a hidden message in Revelations 9. Other clues such as Jesus’ barefoot appearance on the cross was seen as further evidence to support the theory that Jesus is dead. However the group’s earthly representatives vehemently denied such rumours stating that Jesus is still very much with us.

It was also at this time that the Holy Spirit was spending more and more time in India where the other deities believed he was being seduced by eastern religions and a general belief in new age spirituality. This was seen by many hard-core Christian fans as a departure from the group’s origins and have cited this as one of the roots of the trios artistic differences.

God was also spending more and more time with the Holy Roman Catholic Church who were developing a more intense interest in a young virgin called Mary. From this point on God and Mary were rarely apart including when God was working with the rest of the group to answer Catholic prayers. This violated a previous tacit agreement between the members not to let wives or girlfriends into prayer sessions.

The split of the holy trinity certainly marks the end of an era but we shouldn’t rule out the possibility of solo projects or even collaborations with other gods to fit in with the current popularity in religious fusion. Any solo projects may well fail to live up to popularity of the trio in their heyday as present day philosophies have moved on from the simplistic ideologies of the groups roots, but let’s not forget the rich cultural legacy that the Trinity leave behind.